Anyone can tell you why it is ideal to have your own business: you are your own boss, you set your hours, you can live your dream, etc. All sound great, don’t they? But no one talks about the behind-the-scenes struggles of being a business owner. So, before you dive into opening your business and following your passion, let’s discuss five challenges you will likely face.
Starting a business can be super expensive. Some businesses need to have equipment before they can offer their services (think photographers or restaurants). Initial equipment setup can run into thousands of dollars. Plus, do you need a physical building to run your business? If so, now you are looking at renting a building or, at the very least, running the business out of your home. Even if you run the business out of your home, you will still incur utility, internet, phone, insurance, and other expenses.
Ok, so you have your start-up funds and you’re ready to go, right? Well, not quite. Have you looked at your competition? Are they well-established, respectable community member? Are they seen as a community expert that everyone knows and shops at? Or are they a nationally known chain? Do you have several competitors in a small area or is there only a couple in a large city? Competitors can be great because you will need to constantly develop your business to offer products or services that your competitor doesn’t. On the other hand, when you are just starting, competition can be brutal, especially if they are an establishment that has been in the community for years.
Adapting to Change
If the past several years have shown business owners anything, it’s how it is necessary to be able to deal with constant change. Are you one of those people that love the status quo and love the comfort of routine? Successful business owners need to be able to recognize things that aren’t working and have the ability to change what needs to be changed. Sometimes those decisions can be tough, especially if you need to make a change quickly. Without being able to adapt to changing business environments though, you could see your competition pull ahead of you and take your customers with them.
Inconsistent Cash Flow
You have your first customers and the money is starting to flow in and everything is looking great! That is fantastic but what about next week? Next month? Next year? Bills will always need to be paid so what do you do if you have a slow period in the business? Do you have some money set aside in a savings account to get you through those slow times? If you don’t, have you thought about what you are going to do to make it through those trying times? Every business has its ups and downs so planning for those slow times will help keep some stress at bay.
Ineffective Web Presence and Marketing
In today’s world, it is a necessity to have a web presence for your business. A website allows potential customers to find you and for your current customers to keep up with what you are offering. And it isn’t enough to have just a website. Websites should be SEO optimized with engaging content. Websites should also be informative with content that is updated regularly. Not up your alley? You might want to look at a website developer to help get your site built. A copywriter is also a great investment to help keep your content fresh and inviting.
Social media accounts where your customers can easily engage with your business can also be critical. Social media accounts can include Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Depending on who your audience is, some social media sites may be better for you than others. Is your target audience moms of teenagers? Facebook might be a good option to reach moms but TikTok or Instagram might be worth looking at to get your message in front of the teenagers. A good copywriter can help you navigate which social media sites might be best for you. Plus, they will be able to keep your postings current so your customers are always up-to-date on what is happening in your business.
Having your own business can be a great opportunity. Knowing the potential issues will only help you navigate any problems with more ease and confidence. As you gain experience and knowledge, any bumps in the road, (and there will be many!), will be less intimidating and overwhelming.
Now, go out there, be prepared, and be a success!